Friday, March 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Constitution not to blame

APROPOS of the two articles (February 23 and 24) based on a speech delivered by a former Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma, at a recent seminar in New Delhi, the Constitution may be termed as the vehicle of a nation’s progress. It has to reflect the best in the past tradition of the nation; it has also to provide a considered response to the needs of the present and to possess enough resilience to cope with the demands of the future. A Constitution at the same time has to be a living thing not for one or two generations but for succeeding generations. Thus the making of the Constitution calls for the highest statecraft.

Fortunately for us, those entrusted with the task of framing the Constitution of India were aware of their historic role and the supreme importance of the assignment. At a time when politics signified an attachment to certain values, an adherence to certain convictions, the Constitution worked very well.


  Politics has undergone a sea change since then. Hence the necessity to have a second look at the Constitution. We should not be averse to amending it with a view to eliminating and overcoming the difficulties which might be experienced in its working during the course of years and make it subserve the nation’s needs. But at the same time we must heed a note of caution that not every encounter with a difficulty should make us think of amending the Constitution. By the way, do all the worrisome issues the nation faces and for which the government is condemned day after day require amendment of the Constitution for solution? Does the Constitution have to be “restructured” to control the present high graph of prices or to reduce the outrageously widespread area of corruption? Do we need another Constituent Assembly to enforce law and order or to break politician-criminal nexus? These are only a few examples of unsatisfactory governance. To make the Constitution a scape-goat for our administrative failures is an inexcusable escape from the reality which cannot fool the nation any longer.


Security cover for VVIPs

Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “Security cover for VVIPs: rationalisation yes, politics no” (February 25) deserves urgent attention of the government. Mostly security cover is highly excessive, manoeuvred for unwarranted cases and misused. The practice has eroded the faith of the people in public services.

Politicians are not the only ones who try to manipulate for security cover. Senior officers in administrative, judicial, technical and other services are no less keen to have security personnel deployed around them. I wonder why the officials occupying administrative and judicial positions should have security cover. The just and impartial discharge of their duty is the biggest guarantee of their security.

I am of the opinion that all concerned are aware that people do not approve of the type of security personnel deployed around various persons. Yet I feel the intensity of people’s disapproval is not appreciated by the government. I hope the government would assess the situation and take the necessary remedial measures.


OVER-BURDENED TAX-PAYER: The common man is already burdened with high cost of living in this country. Every year a fresh dosage of taxes in the General Budget and the Railway Budget makes him or her overburdened. One may realise it or not, it is very difficult to make both ends meet.

In the modern times, the cult of violence has made it all the more necessary to provide security shield for the former and the present VVIPs and Prime Minister. The cost of security has to be borned by the tax-payer. The author rightly questions: “But I fail to understand why the otherwise rich politicians should not fend for themselves once out of power?”

The security of the common man as well as the VVIPs, including the former Prime Ministers, in the primary concern of the government. But if the government senses that any of these very important men or women no more requires the security cover provided, it should be withdrawn. The security cover should be given on the basis of threat perception — it should not be regarded as a status symbol.

It has been rightly pointed out: “Decision on such matters ought to be left to intelligence agencies.” Still if these important persons feel that their lives are threatened by terrorism, they should not become a burden on the common man in this country. On their demand, they should be asked to bear 75 per cent cost of the security cover.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

POPULIST MEASURES: As a matter of fact, the BJP-led government at the Centre is trying to reduce this unnecessary expenditure on the nation by reviewing security cover. The writer of the article has rightly observed that “Union Home Minister should not buckle under pressure” and carry out “rationalisation of the existing system”.

Some more hard decisions are also being contemplated by the Central government. The present government seems to be aware of the fact that by populist measures people cannot be befooled for a long time. The Congress party is paying the price for doing wrong things for cheap popularity, and the nation is also paying for getting befooled.


Farmers’ ordeal

While the move to bring the farmer in the income tax net is just dying down, in comes the shock for him in the Budget. Urea prices will go up by 15 per cent.

Has anyone ever studied the economic viability of the land-holdings of small and marginal farmers? They are bordering on poverty. Does the government want to add to the army of beggars? Or does it want more farmers to go the Punjab and Andhra way in committing suicide?




To the rescue of trees

I read with immense interest the editorial “To the trees’ rescue” (Feb. 26) , highlighting the Supreme Court’s order restraining the Himachal Pradesh government from going ahead with the proposed “mass murder of green trees” albeit under the attractive garb of “silviculture felling”.

Well, a thousand kudos to the country’s apex court for the much-needed refreshing order, averting the broad daylight cold-blooded mass murder of nature’s darlings — the green trees. We must thank The Tribune also for the paper’s veritable crusade against the accursed decision of the state government on the subject. But for The Tribune’s brave role, the matter would not have attracted the Supreme Court’s benign attention, candidly speaking.

To my mind, large-scale illicit felling of trees in the state goes on unnoticed and unchecked not because forest officials do not enjoy enough facilities and powers to tackle the menace. The nefarious business flourishes simply because the officials concerned seem hand in glove with the notorious timber mafia — to their mutual benefit, of course. Thus there seems hardly any case for providing more “facilities and powers” to the forest officials, as the editorial pleads.

Looking at the deadly “getting-quickly-rich” — virtually overnight — mania increasingly afflicting the notorious timber mafia bureaucrat-politician axis, a total ban on “green felling” seems a much better option than the so-called “silviculture felling” of dubious merit under the gloomy circumstances. Let the powers that be pause and ponder.

Ambota (Una)


Describe the seven ages of women?

Answer: Her own age and six guesses!



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